NEW ERA: Call goes out to Clarence rugby women
RUGBY UNION: Women's rugby sets on the precipice of a new era of participation, and Grafton Redmen's Gary Wilson is proud to be the driving force of that movement in the Clarence Valley.
Wilson has been pushing to create a women's rugby team between the three clubs in the Clarence Valley for the past month, and is ready to see his plan come to fruition with the side to have a first training session on Tuesday night.
But where the team goes from here is dependent on how many women turn up for that training run. If early indications are anything to go by the coach will have his hands full.
"We are getting a great response from right across the Clarence Valley; there are a lot of girls of all ages who want to play rugby,” Wilson said.
"We will have to gauge what the next step is after we see how many turn up for the training session. We certainly want playing outcomes for the women, that is what we are going to strive for.”
Wilson, who has worked as a rugby development officer for Rugby NSW, said this was a turning point for women's involvement in the sport.
"I honestly believe that if rugby clubs don't embrace women's competition then we are going to be well behind the eight ball,” he said.
"I have seen an opportunity through talent and desire in the women across the Clarence Valley, and the main driver for me is a love of the sport.
Wilson said the first training session would focus on the basics of the game which he expected the women to pick up reasonably quickly.
While he is hoping to get enough numbers to put together a playing squad for the upcoming Mid North Coast Rugby season, Wilson's focus was simply to get the idea off the ground.
"If I get two girls, then I'll train two girls. If I get 20, same thing,” he said.
The first session for females will be at the Hay St rugby fields in South Grafton at 5pm tomorrow.
There is an open door, with all women welcome to attend.